July 2021 Sand Mountain

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News July 2021

Sand Mountain


Miss Alabama USA Time, effort pay off for title winner

Camp McDowell Cool cucumbers

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Mark Malone CO-OP EDITOR

Diane B. Hale ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Karl Rayborn Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator Brooke Echols

Lakeside dining

Sunset at The Landing at Parker Creek on Lake Martin, when the sky’s layers of cotton-candy pink bleed into fiery orange and are mirrored in the water, makes for a spectacular view for some delicious dining.


VOL. 74 NO. 7


JULY 2021

Scholarship winners 8 Check out these talented high

school grads and read about their future plans.

Nature close-up 16 The forests and farm at Camp

McDowell give children a close look at the natural world and its creatures.

Cool cucumbers 44 Cucumbers are in ample supply in

Alabama gardens and markets this month, ready to add to salads or use in dips, dressings or pickles.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: advertising@areapower.com For editorial inquiries, email: contact@alabamaliving.coop NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

American MainStreet Publications 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.AMP.coop www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 44 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER

Look for this logo to see more content online! Printed in America from American materials

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Alexandria Flanigan of Cullman is Miss Alabama USA, winning the crown on her first try. The pre-law student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville will compete in the Miss USA pageant this fall. Story, Page 12. PHOTO: David Moore/Good Life Magazine



www.alabamaliving.coop letters@alabamaliving.coop Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

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Cooperatives Make Life Better Mark Malone Manager/CEO

Board of Trustees David Henderson Larry Godwin Randy L. Bailey Luke Freeman Roland Hendon Raymond C. Long Leo Bomian Danny Lacey Brad Gilbert 402 Main Street West P.O. Box 277 Rainsville, AL 35986 (256) 638-4957 fax www.smec.coop In case of power outages, you may call us 24 hours a day: Rainsville-PowellFyffe-Sylvania 256-638-2153 Bryant-Higdon-Flat RockHenagar-Ider-Pisgah 256-657-5137 Fort Payne 256-845-1511 Valley Head-Mentone 256-635-6344 Collinsville-Geraldine 256-659-2153 Section-Langston-Marshall Co. 1-877-843-2512

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As we approach our 2021 annual meeting, you will often hear SMEC described as a not-for-profit electric cooperative. If you’re like most people, you probably wonder how SMEC can send you a monthly electric bill and still claim to be notfor-profit. The simple answer is that your cooperative is owned by you, its members and no one else. There are no outside stockholders or owners to get a share of profits. Our rates are structured to provide electricity to you at our cost of doing business. Every dollar that you pay to SMEC is used for the operation and benefit of the cooperative and its members. SMEC, and other cooperatives throughout the world, operate according to the Seven Cooperative Principles. These were first outlined in 1844 by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in Rochdale, England. The cooperative in Rochdale was formed by weavers whose livelihoods were threatened during the Industrial Revolution. They joined together as a cooperative form of business so they could market their products and compete with the large manufacturers. Electric cooperatives were organized in the 1930’s and 1940’s by rural residents who didn’t have access to electric power. The power companies couldn’t serve these sparsely populated areas at a profit. SMEC was chartered in 1940 for this very reason.

The Seven Cooperative Principles: • Open and voluntary membership – Membership is open to anyone who wishes to purchase electricity and agrees to abide by the bylaws and policies of SMEC. • Democratic member control – Cooperatives are organized by the rule of one-member, onevote. Each member has one vote regardless of the amount of electricity used. • Member’s economic participation – Members contribute capital equitably through the purchase of electricity. • Autonomy and independence – Cooperatives are locally controlled by their members. Our upcoming annual meeting is where you make your voices heard. • Education, training and information – Communications such as Alabama Living Magazine are published to keep members informed. Employees and trustees receive quality training and development to help them effectively perform their duties. • Cooperation among cooperatives – Electric cooperatives regularly provide storm assistance to each other. Associated cooperatives provide financial, lending, insurance, information technology and after-hours answering services.


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| Sand Mountain Electric | Several electric supply cooperatives sell lowcost materials to electric cooperatives. • Concern for community – Electric cooperatives work with local governments and organizations to make life better in their communities. Our bylaws, policies, procedures and practices are all guided by these core principles. They represent the essence of what it means to

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operate as a cooperative. It’s no coincidence that the first four principles define the democratic control of our members. Please plan to participate in the governance of your cooperative this year by attending our 2021 annual meeting on August 27 and 28. The employees and trustees of SMEC are here to serve you, our members. Stay healthy and safe!

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We're Ready for Storm Season. Are You? Now that summer is in full swing, we welcome more opportunities to be outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather. Summertime brings many of our favorite activities like cooking out with family and friends, afternoons on the water and simply slowing down a bit to enjoy life. Summer months may also make conditions right for dangerous storms. These potential weather events can cause destruction to our electrical system. Just remember that Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative (SMEC) crews are always ready and standing by to respond should power outages occur. If major storms knock out power, our crews take all necessary precautions before they get to work on any downed lines. SMEC encourages you to practice safety and preparedness to protect your family during major storms and outages. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends these tips as a starting point for storm and disaster preparedness. • Stock your pantry with a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Canned goods, energy bars, peanut butter, powdered milk, instant coffee and water are some 6  JULY 2021

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suggestions. • Confirm that you have adequate sanitation and hygiene supplies including towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, diapers and toiletries. • Ensure your First Aid kit is stocked with pain relievers, bandages and other medical essentials. Make sure your prescriptions are current. • Set aside basic household items you will need, including flashlights, batteries, a manual can opener and portable, battery-powered radio or TV. • Organize emergency supplies so they are easily accessible in one location. In the event of a prolonged power outage, turn off major appliances, TVs, computers and other sensitive electronics. This will help avert damage from a power surge and will also help prevent overloading the circuits during power restoration. That said, do leave one light on so you will know when power is restored. If you plan to use a small generator, make sure it’s rated to handle the amount of power you need and always review the manufacturer’s instructions to operate it safely. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for storm and emergency information. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Sand Mountain Electric | After the storm, avoid downed power lines and walking through flooded areas where power lines could be submerged. Allow ample room for utility crews to safely perform their jobs, including on your property. Advanced planning for severe storms or other emergencies can reduce stress and anxiety caused by the weather event and can lessen the impact of the storm’s effects. Sign up for NOAA

emergency alerts and warnings. While we don’t want to experience severe storms this summer, we can never predict Mother Nature’s plans. At SMEC, we recommend that you act today because there is power in planning. From our co-op family to yours, we hope you have a safe and wonderful summer. Visit www.ready.gov for additional resources.

AVOID UTILITY SCAMS Scammers will threaten you with everything from shutting off power to your home to legal action. Don't fall victim to these types of scams.

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• Never give personal information to an unknown caller or visitor. Our representatives have access to the details they need to service your account. • Demands for immediate payment by wire transfer, cryptocurrency, gift cards or cash reload cards should immediately raise red flags. • If you think you’ve been contacted by a scammer falsely representing Sand Mountain Electric Co-op, please notify SMEC as soon as possible.

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Graduates Receive $1000 Scholarships from SMEC Dillon Cook is a graduate of Ider High School. He plans to attend the Univeristy of Alabama in the fall where he will major in bsychology and minor in biology. He hopes to attend medical school at UAB in the future.

Darby Culpepper is a graduate of Cornerstone Christian Academy. She plans to attend Northeast Alabama Community College in the fall and major in elementary education.

Jathan Underwood is a graduate of Plainview High School. He plans to attend Tusculum University in the fall where he will major in exercise science & wellness as well as being a member of the football team.

Tanner Cowart is a graduate of Fyffe High School. He plans to attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville this fall to major in mechanical engineering.

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Ice cream fun!

| Alabama Snapshots |

Hazel Hobbs enjoying ice cream with Grandpa, Jerry Dukes. SUBMITTED by Sally Hobbs, Foley.

Kylie and Bentley Wilson at Peach Park. SUBMITTED BY Joey Robinson, Prattville. My son Brock enjoying his ice cream. SUBMITTED by Jerri Quinn, Tuscumbia.

Kaylee Bonner, last 4th of July. SUBMITTED by Elizabeth Bonner, Monroeville.

After eating a child-size cone the day before, my grandson Korbin Tombly felt he was up to the task of tackling a larger one. SUBMITTED by Marsha Middleton, Millry. Letty Moore, our granddaughter who is almost 4. SUBMITTED BY Lisa Killingsworth, Kinsey. A Brooklyn Blackout chocolate shake at the Venetian Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. SUBMITTED BY Delinda Cain, Arab.

Submit “My Favorite Photo” photos by July 31. Winning photos will run in September.

SUBMIT to WIN $10! Alabama Living

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Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

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Spotlight | July Have a safe Fourth of July cookout Auburn student interns for Alabama Living Sunshine, hot dogs and cold drinks (along with nighttime fireworks) make for a fun Fourth of July holiday. As you gather with friends and family, serve up some food safety at your holiday cookout. “If we don’t handle and prepare foods in safe ways, we could make family, friends and ourselves sick,” says Janice Hall, an Alabama Extension regional food safety agent. Hall offers four basic steps to prevent the start and spread of foodborne illnesses at your next cookout. Clean: First things first, wash your hands. This should be common after the pandemic, but it never hurts to remind, especially when people are going in and out of the house. Lather with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds; thoroughly rinse and dry hands with a paper towel. Separate: Use clean plates and cooking utensils to take foods off the grill. Never use the same plate that held raw meat for foods that are ready to eat. Cook: Use a food thermometer to check the temperatures of meats. Minimum internal cooking temperatures: Poultry, 165 degrees F; ground meats, 160 degrees F; fish, 145 degrees F; and beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts, chops), 145 degrees with three-minute rest time. Chill: Use separate coolers for hot foods, cold foods and beverages. One ice has been used for storage, it should not be consumed. Pack leftovers as soon as possible. (Information from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System)

New podcast highlights Alabama’s civil rights history Most American history books only scratch the surface when it comes to telling stories about the Civil Rights Movement, and consequently many of those stories are not that well-known. To help bring a behind-the-scenes look at how the Civil Rights Movement shaped a nation, the Alabama Tourism Department is launching the Alabama Civil Rights Trail podcast. The first episode provides an indepth look into who the Freedom Riders were and their mission to ride across the Deep South. Episode two dives deeper into the bombings and other terrorizing activities that took place in Birmingham during the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. The third episode covers attempted voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, which radically influenced the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and discusses how events that happened more than 50 years ago still play a role in the fight for equality today. Search “Alabama Civil Rights Trail” wherever you get your podcasts.

Tessa Battles, a senior at Auburn University, is working as an intern at Alabama Living this summer. Battles is a native of Geneva, Alabama, and is majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. Battles is assisting the magazine staff with social media, copy editing and writing stories. Battles says that she has always loved to write, but she started her journey at Auburn as a pre-vet major. “I quickly realized that wasn’t for me,” Battles says. “I knew I had always been drawn to reading and writing and did well in those subjects, but journalism never occurred to me until my sophomore year of college.” Battles says that when she took her first journalism course at Auburn, she fell in love with it. “I loved everything about journalism, especially when I got introduced to feature writing.” Battles says. “I am excited to be interning at Alabama Living because it is pushing me to strengthen myself and push forward in my career.” Aside from writing, Battles enjoys hiking, painting, making jewelry and gardening. She plans to pursue law school and a career in intellectual property law following graduation in August. She says that her passion for helping people have their stories heard nudged her toward a career in law, but she never wants to stop writing.

Tell us about your favorite cookbook! A cookbook, handed down from one generation to the next, is a wonderful, personal way to share coveted family recipes with young cooks. While the bookstores (and shopping websites) of today are filled with cookbooks penned by “celebrity” chefs and TV stars, complete with professionally styled photography and eye-catching layouts, they lack the personal connection of the dog-eared, cake batter-stained and sometimes coverless heirlooms that belonged to our mothers and grandmothers. We want to know the stories behind your treasured family A well-loved cookbook given to cookbook, and why it’s so special managing editor Allison Law by to you. Send a short (less than her grandmother. 250 words) note to Allison Law at alaw@areapower.com by Aug. 2 and tell us about your favorite cookbook and why you cherish it. We’d also love a photo of the book (or you holding the book!). Alternately, you can mail your story to us at 340 Technacenter Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117. You may be featured in an upcoming article!

Correction: The photo on Page 30 of the June issue of the Saturn V rocket was incorrectly identified. The photo is actually of the Saturn 1B rocket at the Welcome Center in Ardmore, Alabama. 10  JULY 2021

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July | Spotlight Find the hidden dingbat! More than 460 of you correctly found last month’s hidden dingbat in the photo on Page 18, the ice cream cone nestled in the flower bush in front of the Washington County Hospital and Nursing Home. Dorothy Moorer of Baldwin EMC wrote us that she is certain a strawberry ice cream cone would surely hit the spot on a bright and sunny day, and many of you shared how beautiful you thought the flowers are. In fact, Gearldean Carden of Franklin EC Sponsored by

said that she nearly missed the dingbat because it blended with the flowers so well! There were also several first-time submissions, including Jimmie Carlisle of Tallapoosa River EC and Pete Garvin of Covington EC. And the kids were on top of the dingbat yet again. Jenna Kate Crutchfield, 8, of Eutaw, and Hannah Hall, 9, of Moundville found it. Congratulations to our randomly drawn winner, Lisa Yerby of Tuscaloosa, a member of Black Warrior EMC, who wins a $25 gift card and prize package from Alabama

Whereville, AL Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by July 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the August issue. Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25! June’s answer: The ruins of the old brick furnace at Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park are fenced off but still visible. The furnace was built in 1862 by a group of men doing business as the Bibb County Iron Company, spurred by a desire to make money from the South’s need for iron for war materials. The works were idled from time to time over the next few decades, but by the end of the 1880s, the huge metal furnaces in Birmingham could far outproduce Brierfield. It was idled permanently in 1894. The park is open for events and visitors; learn more at BrierfieldIronworks. org (Photo contributed by Dennis Henley of Central Alabama EC). The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Donald Horne of Central Alabama EC. Alabama Living

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One Credit Union. “I had to put on a pair of glasses in addition to my contacts to find this one,” Yerby says. This month we’ve hidden a barbecue grill, so start looking now because the deadline is July 7.

By mail:

Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

Take us along!

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@alabamaliving.coop. Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo and put your social media handle so we can tag you! We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

After climbing to the 15,685-foot summit of the volcano Guagua Pichincha near Quito, Ecuador, mountain guide Estalin Suarez enjoyed reading the February issue during a rest break. James Bullinger of Level Plains and a Pea River EC member, was traveling with Suarez, a guide with the tour company Andengipfel Reisen, for a week of high-altitude climbing adventures. “Estalin asked me if I had anything to read in my pack,” he wrote us. “I said, ‘Sure, how about Alabama Living?’ Estalin said, ‘Perfecto!’”

Byron and Ann Colley of Tallassee took their magazine to Panama City Beach, Fla., for a relaxing weekend trip to celebrate Ann’s birthday. They are members of Central Alabama EC.

Shawn Dupree of Deatsville is always looking for new places to visit and looks forward to looking at her magazine each month to see what places to visit next. She writes that Starr’s Mill in Fayetteville, Ga., is even prettier in person. She’s a member of Central Alabama EC.

Robbie South of Hanceville, a member of Cullman EC, took his magazine to Los Cabos, Mexico, where he attended the wedding of his granddaughter, Madison Bailey, to Alan Floyd.

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Alexandria Flanigan was crowned Miss Alabama USA at Auburn University earlier this year. PHOTO BY SAGE MEDIA GROUP

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Pushing boundaries Miss Alabama USA finds confidence, opportunity in title win

By Jennifer Crossley Howard


he road to a pageant crown can take years. Some young “She has tremendous favor on her end,” says Laura Quick, CEO women, after countless dresses, carefully plotted talent rouof Good Grit Magazine. “She is not afraid of hard work. She decidtines and interview rehearsals, never make it into the top ed (to do it), and did it.” ten, much less take the crown. Growing up For Alexandria Flanigan, the road proved a bit shorter. She Flanigan grew up the daughter of a truck driver and Tyson won on her first try. Foods employee in Cullman. The midsize town, which sits right Growing up, she admired the women who competed in Miss off Interstate 65, is a sort of landmark bridging north and central Alabama USA. Alabama. Cullman is perhaps best known for its German heri“These women were intelligent, beautiful, strong and tage (and its annual Oktoberfest each fall), bold,” she says. “I thought, ‘I like these as well as its tourist attractions, including women. They are people I could look up the Benedictine monastery and Ave Mato.’ I love powerful women who try to ria Grotto, the charming garden setting make a difference.” for 125 miniature reproductions of some Now she is in their company. of the most famous religious structures of In January at Auburn University, Flanthe world. igan was crowned Miss Alabama USA, Beyond the tourism, the city’s advocates becoming the first woman of color from point to its industrial growth and revitalCullman to do so. The opportunity to ized downtown area. overcome stage fright and boost her con Flanigan talks lovingly of her homefidence attracted Flanigan to the pageant town, where she experienced a fond childexperience; the self-described introvert hood save some heartbreak. got what she asked for. “I did experience racism,” she says. “I “I wanted to challenge myself,” she says. grew up mixed (race) in the ’90s.” Grow“I didn’t expect what came out of it, but I ing up, she says she didn’t give a lot of will say what I was looking for, I found.” thought to one day representing her She signed up somewhat on a whim, hometown, though in hindsight, a mixedwith no pageant coach, and saved to buy race woman representing Cullman might her own dress. She only told her closest Alexandria Flanigan still finds time to relax, despite her hectic schedule as Miss Alabama USA. have been unimaginable decades ago. friends and family she was competing. PHOTO COURTESY ALEXANDRIA FLANIGAN “Looking back, I think it would have “I’ve always had an issue with stage fright,” shocked people,” she says. “I think it shocked people now.” Flanigan says. Quick, who is a resident of Cullman, concurs. “Winning this But she worked to build her confidence. She mastered a conshocked her as much as it shocked anyone,” she says. Flanigan fident strut down her apartment hallway, in the kitchen, on any as Miss Alabama USA, Quick adds, “gives people permission to given sidewalk. “If I was outside and there was a straight away, think Cullman is a place for them, too.” I’d walk.” Flanigan says she wants to be a light, and to look forward. “My To supplement her pageant education she hit the Internet, outlook on life is not to focus on the negative, or on people who watching videos of interviews on YouTube. Her win was a result care way too much what I look like,” she says. of time, effort and determination, according to one friend.

Alabama Living

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Flanigan visited with Gov. Kay Ivey at her office in April. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

An ambassador for Cullman

Her focus on positivity is getting a big push forward since her pageant win: The Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce named Flanigan as an interim ambassador of Alabama’s changing image. “Many areas of the South have a history of racial inequality,” says Jeff Tolbert, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. “We strive to be better than that history in Cullman and continue to prove that skin color does not determine success here. “A huge group of local businesses and individuals are supporting Alexandria in preparation for the national pageant later this year,” Tolbert adds. “A national title is not out of our reach.” Though she is a pre-law student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and spends much of her time in the Rocket City, Flanigan takes much pride in her hometown. Heritage Park, Duck Pond and Karma’s Coffee House are some favorite spots. “It’s crazy to watch how much (Cullman) has grown.” Flanigan commutes an hour each way to class from Cullman; she had a brief break between the spring semester and summer school but stayed busy with appearances as Miss Alabama USA. She has mastered organization enough that she is still able to fit in workouts at the university’s gym along with her philosophy classes and pageant duties, which include in person and virtual appearances. After graduation in December, she might take a break before attending law school. Flanigan aspires to practice corporate law, to give a voice to those who do not have one. She will be the first college graduate in her immediate family, and the first attorney. As for law school, Flanigan has visited campuses and is interested in several, including Samford University in Birmingham and Emory University in Atlanta. Even with the pressures of school and making appearances as Miss Alabama USA, Flanigan has found time to volunteer for a cause she believes in. She is an advocate for clean water through the nonprofit Filter of Hope, a Christian ministry that raises money to get clean water to countries in the Caribbean and Central America. She saw an ad on social media and immediately applied to be an ambassador. This fall, Flanigan will represent Alabama in the Miss USA pageant. (The winner of Miss USA will compete in the Miss Universe pageant.) The pageant is tentatively planned to take place in November in Tulsa, Okla. “I am excited to see how this goes,” she says.

About the pageant

The Miss Alabama USA and Miss Alabama Teen USA pageants are official preliminaries to the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. Contestants are judged in three equal categories: personal interview, swimsuit for the Miss Alabama contestants, and evening gown. There is no performing talent competition, and no previous pageant experience is necessary. According to the official pageant website, the pageants “are looking for diverse young women who are not only beautiful, but intelligent and willing to share their hearts and minds as ambassadors to our state and nation.” For the winner, her year as a titleholder “is certain to be one full of personal growth and development.” 14  JULY 2021

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Alexandria Flanigan on the campus of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where she will graduate with a philosophy degree in December. PHOTO BY JENNIFER CROSSLEY HOWARD

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Opening young minds to the natural world

Story and photos by Josh Levesque


ow would you react if your kid returned home from school Educational Programs, which comprise the Environmental Center, Farm School, Alabama Folk School, and Magnolia Nature preand began babbling about seeing snakes, milking a goat, school. Although summer camp is religious in nature, McDowell’s and jumping off the top of a telephone pole? educational programs are not, Located just an hour north and all are welcome. of Birmingham, Camp McThe beautiful scenery on the Dowell’s educational programs property – located just south have changed 170,000 lives of the Bankhead National Forsince opening in 1994. Workest – lends itself to teaching ing with both school groups about the natural world in a and families, McDowell eduway most families and schools cators use the property’s forcan’t imagine. ests and farm to teach science, “We focus on educating teamwork, and everything else students, parents and teachers a growing kid needs but may what it means to be connected not have access to at home. to nature and each other. Camp Beth Dille (pronounced like is all about what the world the pickle), director of the Encould be like and we strive to vironmental Center, wants you do that as well with the educato see how special the place tional programs. Many people is with your own eyes, not to think that with the family field take her word for it. “Gosh – trips that there is a religious asjust look at our pictures, our pect to the weekend, however videos on our website or come this is not the case. visit us and you will see. We “Most people think of sumchange lives.” mer camp when they think of The camp’s previous direcMcDowell, but one thing that tor, who worked with Dille many people do not realize is in Texas years before, invited that McDowell Educational Dille to come to McDowell. Programs are nationally recShe was skeptical. ognized and looked up to,” “She asked me five years ago Dille says. “Our staff is made if I wanted to come work here up of people throughout the and bring my son, Lucas, to whole country who found us grow up at an amazing place because the work we do that is for kids. I didn’t want to live in seen nationwide.” the middle of nowhere in Ala bama, but I said I would come Making a difference to visit. As soon as I got here, One of the most striking I immediately fell in love with things about the McDowell it and ended up taking the poEducational Staff is the wide sition with such joy. I became range of skills they need to the director about a year later Scotty Feltman, director of the McDowell Farm School, holds one of the learn for programs. It’s not unwhen she left for a different friendly chickens the children interact with. common for a staff member to position.” The Camp McDowell property is owned and maintained by the teach a group how to milk a goat in the morning, how to rock Episcopal Church and was originally developed for summer camp climb in the afternoon, and all about constellations in the evening. One of the staff members with the most unique skills is Marika sessions. But over the years it has grown to include the McDowell 16  JULY 2021

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McDowell Environmental Center students enjoy exploring the creeks and ponds during the Aquatic Adventures class, which focuses on studying animals that live underwater.

“What we do makes a difference. It works. It changes lives.” Alabama Living

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Van Brocklin, the animal program manager and outreach coordinator for the Environmental Center. Her job requires her to care for and train all of camp’s animal ambassadors (snakes, turtles, owls, hawks, etc.) and to use them to lead educational programs. Van Brocklin says her job is “absolutely incredible.” “Though it is challenging at times working with birds of prey and reptiles, the reward is well worth it. I love getting to educate people about the importance of wildlife native to the state of Alabama, while showing them some of our animal ambassadors up close. I have always wanted to be a voice for those who don’t have one, and I get to fulfill that dream every single day.” Before COVID-19, McDowell educational programs drew more than 9,000 students every year, primarily through school groups from across the southeast. Directors take a lot of pride in being able to keep prices low and offering scholarships where possible, so not being able to accept the folks they’re used to seeing every year has been difficult. “Most students have not been able to have any hands-on experiences in class, let alone personally experience the wonder of science in nature. McDowell Educational Programs have gotten students excited about learning through hands-on, inquiry-based outdoor education for decades,” Dille says. “What we do makes a difference. It works. It changes lives. We want to be able to do that again. We are starting to be able to with schools coming to us and us going to them, but it’s taken a lot of work and struggling to figure out how,” Dille says. Camp McDowell offers family programs and is beginning to be able to accept schools again. For more information, visit campmcdowell.org.

“Most people think of summer camp when they think of McDowell, but one thing that many people do not realize is that McDowell Educational Programs are nationally recognized and looked up to.”

Marika Van Brocklin, animal programs manager and outreach coordinator, attempts to train a federally permitted black vulture to step onto a scale to be weighed. Black vultures are important for the environment, but should not be kept as pets. This bird now can’t survive in the wild after it was taken out of the wild as a baby.

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Bigfoot’s Little Donuts

offers big taste in small bites By Aaron Tanner


hether you’re a Bigfoot believer or you shun Sasquatch, if you like sweet treats, Huntsville has just the place for you. Bigfoot’s Little Donuts serves hot and fresh tiny versions of the sweet breakfast staple. Serving the Huntsville area since 2014, the business is popular with both locals and out-of-towners. The shop has even been featured on the Food Network, thanks to a visit from “Cake Boss” star chef Buddy Valastro. Inside the store, a giant statue of Bigfoot greets those looking for a sugar fix along with a shelf featuring various Bigfoot-themed items for sale, including hand-crafted coffee mugs, air fresheners, and journals. Past the wall covered with photos of customers – wearing T-shirts and caps with the store’s logo in various vacation spots – is a chalkboard highlighting different homemade donut flavors. Some of the more popular daily flavors include cinnamon roll, Nutella with strawberry, salted caramel, maple glaze, Fruity Pebbles, banana pudding, and weekly specials such as wedding cake and red velvet. “Right now, we have over 60 donut flavors,” owner Brian Steele says. “Any given day, there are 35 to 40 different flavors on the menu to choose from.” Ingredients come from different local suppliers, with the dough prepped by employees before and after operating hours and throughout the day. Each dozen donut order cooks in one to two minutes only after the customer orders either in-person

or online to ensure a fresh treat. “Our process does increase wait times, but having a good product is worth a few extra minutes,” Steele explains.

Food truck beginnings

The idea for combining Bigfoot with donuts came from a combination of marketing, a movie and fate. While in college, Steele saw a docudrama about Bigfoot sightings around Texarkana, Texas, called “The Legend of Boggy Creek.” “Not the best movie, but it would put you (to sleep),” Steele says. Years later, Steele and his wife were intrigued by a vendor who made cinnamon sugar mini donuts at an event. Though he was working as an Army contractor at Redstone Arsenal, Steele thought he could renovate a food truck, sell mini donuts and make a profit, thanks to his other side job, constructing houses. “My wife and I both thought a food truck with lots of different flavored hot-mini donuts would do well in Huntsville,” Steele says. After purchasing a food truck and selling donuts during the morning four days a week, Steele bought an additional Airstream trailer to keep up with business growth. He found a Bible with an inscription of the Airstream’s former location of Texarkana, Texas – one of the filming locations of “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” the movie he’d seen years before. And there’s another Bigfoot-related coincidence that made Steele think they were on the right path. “The actor who played

Bigfoot’s Little Donuts has been a culinary staple in Huntsville since 2014. PHOTO BY GARI-ANN KIA PHOTOGRAPHY; Inset, Bigfoot’s Little Donuts began as a food truck before adding an Airstream trailer to their operations, and eventually moving into a brick-and-mortar location. PHOTO BY LAUREN SANDERSON

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Left, The hand-crafted coffee mugs pair nicely with flavorful minidonuts. PHOTO BY NATIVE COLOR COMPANY PHOTOGRAPHY; below,Bigfoot’s Little Donuts owner Brian Steele believes not only in the mythical creature, but also putting out a quality product. PHOTO BY LAUREN SANDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY; below left, The most ordered flavor of donut is the cinnamon roll. There are 35 to 40 different flavors to choose from. PHOTO BY NATIVE COLOR COMPANY PHOTOGRAPHY

Bigfoot in the TV show ‘Harry and the Hendersons’ was named Brian Steele, just like me,” he says. The donut-making Steele stayed busy, operating a donut shop out of the Airstream (complete with outdoor seating) and using the food truck for special events, all while doing his Army contracting job. “The Airstream was a unique space,” he says. “There were not many walk-in/sit-down food trucks operating in the South at that point.” Business eventually did well enough that Steele quit his government job and focused solely on his passion. In 2018, Steele opened a permanent location. Testing the waters with a food truck was a fun experiment without the risks involved with operating a physical building. “Food trucks provide a tremendous opportunity to get proof-of-concept without the giant expenditure of a brick-and-mortar location,” Steele says. Like most businesses, the pandemic greatly affected Bigfoot’s Little Donuts; the shop had to reduce hours and transition to takeout. Steele also cut costs by taking a pay cut so his employees could continue working and cover business-related expenses. “Bigfoot cut his salary 50% while we reduced hours to only high-demand, and cut costs where we could,” he says. Despite the uncertain economic times, Steele opened a second location in Madison in July 2020, thanks to tremendous customer support and not taking on debt with the new store. “The patrons at both locations are great and have supported us throughout,” he says. Steady growth, no debt, and a good product have helped Bigfoot’s Little Donuts thrive during challenging times. Although Steele eventually sold the food truck and trailer, he still enjoys making donuts, getting to know customers in a fun atmosphere, and overseeing many young, enthusiastic workers. “Making donuts is enjoyable, but the best part by far is the connections you make with your customers and employees,” he says. His long-term goal includes franchising Bigfoot’s Little Donuts locations into new markets. “Once the pandemic subsides, we will push harder towards expansion,” Steele says. “It is our hope that our brand continues to grow.”

Bigfoot’s Little Donuts

7914 Memorial Parkway, SW, Huntsville, AL 35802 256-348-2500 bigfootslittledonuts.com Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday; 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday 22  JULY 2021

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| Worth the drive |

The stunning sunset views at The Landing add to its appeal.


He built it, and they came

Ride a boat (or car) to dine alfresco at popular Lake Martin eatery By Jennifer Kornegay


here are countless ways to enjoy time at Lake Martin, the massive man-made lake filled with beautiful blue-green waters in east-central Alabama. Zip around its shimmering surface on a jet ski. Drop a line from the banks or a boat in hopes of landing a big bass. Paddle a kayak into quiet inlets to explore the tree-lined shores. Sit back on a pontoon boat and take a tour of house-envy-inducing lake homes. Or simply relax on a raft and float the day away. Whatever you do — active or not — water works up an appetite, so you’ll need to eat. Meeting that need hasn’t always been easy if you want to dine at a restaurant. Compared to the size of the lake, there still aren’t that many around, and a few years ago, that was even more true if you were on the far west side of the lake. That’s the dilemma that faced Herb Winches, owner of The Landing at Parker Creek, an all-alfresco eatery and bar cozied up to the water in Equality,

right beside Parker Creek Marina. At the time he had the idea for The Landing, Winches was facing — literally — something else, too. “I was at my lake house and was standing on the porch late one afternoon, looking at this stunning view of the water across a nice flat and empty piece of property adjacent to mine. I thought a restaurant would be great right there,” he says. Winches was also weary of navigating across the lake to eat out. And while the retired sportscaster from Birmingham was done with the broadcasting life, he wasn’t really ready to completely slow down. “So, I thought, I’ll open a spot here on this great property,” he says. He took full advantage of the waterfront locale, adding a roped-off swimming area for kids, plenty of boat slips for parking and decided to forgo walls and opt instead for tables on a series of covered decks, as well as some seating set in the soft grass under towering pines. The kitchen and other areas

Beef filet sliders topped with melty cheese and fried onion strings always hit the spot. PHOTOS BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY

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A frosty bushwacker is a can’t-miss treat at The Landing, especially on a hot day.


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Herb Winches, owner of The Landing, can often be found mixing and mingling with his guests

The Mahi sandwich at The Landing is one of the most popular menu items. PHOTOS BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY

that needed to be enclosed are housed in shipping containers. Winches had no idea exactly what to expect, but it was a classic “build it and they will come” scenario. And come they did. In late spring 2015, The Landing welcomed its first guests. And they weren’t all “local.” Plenty of the diners that first year had charted a course from every nook and cranny of the lake in a trend that continues today. “People have to pass other places to get here, but they do,” Winches says. Boats (and even some cars) come from all over, ferrying folks who land at The Landing happy to have their hair ruffled by constant breezes blowing off the water and ready to sate their rumbling tummies with the casual, yet elevated, cuisine served during lunch and dinner hours Thursday through Sunday, from mid-April through Labor Day. Diverse items like shrimp tacos, beef filet sliders and a spiced-just-right mahi sandwich with slaw are popular. And daily specials, like lobster tacos, often sell out. It’s a family friendly spot, with ample space for kids to run and yell and splash in the shallows without bothering a soul. It’s got some grown-up treats, too. The bar’s chocolate-heavy version of a “beach cocktail,” the bushwhacker, is a must-try. At night, dinner specials range from meltingly tender beef short ribs with mushroom-truffle risotto to halibut stuffed with sweet crab meat, enhanced with lemon-butter-caper sauce. Chef Torrey Hall, who originally hails from Hawaii, provides the lift underneath these dishes as well as The Landing’s more upscale versions of standard sandwiches, burgers and salads. Winches profusely praises his work. “His red snapper is as good as you’ll get anywhere,” he says.

The Landing at Parker Creek

8300 Parker Creek Marina Road, Equality Hours: Thursday, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 204-410-6091 thelandingatparkercreek.com

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He touts the rest of his staff too, knowing they’re the key to the fast, friendly service that keeps crowds coming back, even when there’s a line at the walk-up ordering counter that’s 40 people deep. “It’s very important that once guests place their order, they get served fast, and my team makes that happen,” he says. “My wonderful staff is key to our success.” As Winches has no restaurant experience and since his “retired” designation implied he should be relaxing, that success came as a bit of surprise to some quite close to him. “When I first told her my idea, my wife thought I was crazy. She doesn’t think that anymore,” he laughs. “Now she’s the business manager.” Even the pandemic didn’t slow The Landing down. Thanks to its open-air concept and good safety protocols, many people felt safe dining there. In 2020, sales were up 35 percent over 2019, and that had been a record year. “There were so many more people at the lake,” Winches says. “A lot of them were working remotely and just stayed here the whole summer.” Indeed, on any given Saturday or Sunday during the “season,” The Landing is packed. Winches loves to mix and mingle, chatting up diners like old friends. And many now are; the restaurant boasts a good group of repeat guests. “I enjoy socializing with guests so much,” he says. “I joke and call myself a ‘Walmart greeter.’” While the food and service get rave reviews, they’re not the main attractions here. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself at The Landing during a summer sunset, when the sky’s layers of cotton-candy pink bleeding into fiery orange are mirrored on the water, you’ll see what Winches saw, and start to understand how something as simple as a lovely view could spark such a delicious idea. “I really wanted to showcase the lake and invite others to enjoy this spot too,” he says. Offering all-alfresco dining cozied right up to the shores of Lake Martin, The Landing is a favorite stop for folks enjoying the lake. PHOTO COURTESY LAKE MARTIN TOURISM ASSOCIATION


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Happy birthday, Medicare! What happens when you turn 65


his July marks the 56th anniversary of Medicare. Did you know you can apply for Medicare online even if you are not ready to start your retirement benefits? Applying online can take less than 10 minutes. There are no forms to sign and we usually require no additional documentation. We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information. Knowing when to apply for Medicare is very important. You have a limited initial enrollment period to apply. If you miss the initial enrollment period, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium. If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that birthday. Visit ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to apply for Medicare and find other important information. Some Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. To qualify for Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Read our publication Understanding the Extra Help With Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for more information at ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10508.pdf. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

July Crossword Across 1 It’s celebrated on July 4th 8 Land of opportunity 9 It has 7 articles 11 Navy ship title 12 Revered celebrities 14 Last word in “America the Beautiful” 15 Trail 16 One of the most important parts of American life 19 One of the colors in the flag 20 “O say, can you see the dawn’s early light” and “’Cause the flag still stands for freedom,” for example 21 “____ Home, Alabama” 22 Trucker’s radio 24 The Stars and Stripes, 2 words 26 The “Red, White and Blue” 28 Household chore 29 U.S. patriot, general and hero Down 1 Allow into a group 2 Desert sights 3 NASCAR bend 4 Devoted to one’s country 5 “One __, Under God....” 6 Have some 7 Fries on a grill, e.g. 10 Alamo defender, ____ Crockett 13 Emblems on the US flag 15 Holiday celebrations 17 Cat sound 18 What we all strive to attain 20 Zodiac sign 28  JULY 2021

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The official Medicare website at Medicare.gov offers many online services where you can find answers to these questions: • What does Medicare cover? medicare.gov/what-medicarecovers • Where do I find forms for filing a Medicare appeal? medicare. gov/claims-appeals/how-do-i-file-an-appeal • How can I let someone speak with Medicare on my behalf? medicare.gov/claims-appeals/file-an-appeal/can-someone-file-an-appeal-for-me • What do Medicare health and prescription drug plans in my area cost, and what services do they offer? medicare.gov/ plan-compare • Which doctors, health care providers, and suppliers participate in Medicare? medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/ find-compare-doctors-hospitals-other-providers • Where can I find out more about a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) and enroll? medicare.gov/drugcoverage-part-d/how-to-get-prescription-drug-coverage • Where can I find a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy in my area? medicare.gov/medigapsupplemental-insurance-plans Please share these helpful resources with friends and family today.

by Myles Mellor

22 Mountain goat’s perch 23 Beside 25 Hawaiian wreath

26 Good times 27 Had a hot dog, say 28 Gala

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July | Around Alabama


Several cities and towns around Alabama will have fireworks events for the Independence Day holiday. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SYSTEM







Fort Rucker Freedom Fest Rumble over Rucker, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the Festival Fields on the Army installation. Live entertainment, including country music artist Darryl Worley, Shane Owens, the Brown Goose and the MCoE Band from Fort Benning. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Local businesses, food vendors and food trucks will be on site. Rucker.armymwr.com Anniston Noble Street Festival, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pro bike racing, children’s races, KidZone, live music, local cuisine and more to benefit Calhoun County Relay for Life. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.


Chatom Independence Day Celebration beginning at 5 p.m. at the Chatom Community Center. Live music by COOL RAYZ, water slides, trackless train, balloon art, carnival rides and fireworks beginning at 9 p.m. Admission free; parking is $1 per vehicle. Bring lawn chairs; no coolers or dogs allowed. There will be food and arts and crafts booths on site. 251-680-3075 or email thorntonfran@yahoo.com


Decatur Spirit of America Festival and Fireworks Show, Point Mallard Park. Annual Fourth of July celebration, featuring live music, family games, sports tournaments, food and craft vendors and fireworks. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 3 and 12 to 9 p.m. July 4. Fireworks begin around 9 p.m. SpiritofAmericaFestival.org

Clanton 11th annual Chilton County Arts Festival, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Clanton Performing Arts Center, 1850 Lay Dam Road. This free indoor event features artists selling fine hand-crafted art, including pottery, wood, jewelry, glass, gourds and more. ChiltonCountyArtsCouncil.com

Cullman annual fireworks festival at Smith Lake Park, beginning at 9:30 a.m., 403 County Road 386. Food and arts and crafts vendors, live music, golf cart parade and other park activities. Park admission is $5 per person; fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Check the Facebook pages for Smith Lake Park and Cullman County Parks for details. Gulf Shores July Fourth Celebration and Cookout at the Lodge at Gulf State Park, 21196 East Beach Blvd. Live music, food, face painting, carnival-style games and pie eating contests. 5:30 to 9 p.m. on the outdoor terrace. Adults $65, children 5-12 $30, children under 5 free. 251-540-4000 or email info@lodgegsp.com


Orange Beach Blue Marlin Grand Championship of the Gulf, The Wharf, 4673 Wharf Parkway. The championship is the finale of the acclaimed Gulf Coast Triple Crown Series, with a boat parade at 10 a.m. July 15 and weigh-in from 5 to 7 p.m. July 17. Admission free to spectators. BlueMarlinGrandChampionship.com

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Florence W.C. Handy Music Festival. Details are still being planned; follow the event’s Facebook page for updates.


Theodore Mr. Bellingrath’s Birthday Celebration at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Walter D. Bellingrath was Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler and the founder of the Bellingrath Gardens and Home. In honor of his birthday, admission to the gardens is free to Mobile and Baldwin County residents on this date. Home tour tickets are $10 per person and are led by longtime guides. 251-9732217 or Bellingrath.org


Dothan Landmark Park Education Festival, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Teachers, youth group leaders and families are invited to a showcase of the educational opportunities available at Landmark Park. Activities will include planetarium shows, live animal programs, dulcimer lessons and more. Free with paid admission. 334-794-3452 or LandmarkParkDothan.com


Frisco City Monroe County NCPRA Rodeo, Frisco City Park. This family-friendly event is sanctioned by the National Cowboy Pro Rodeo Association. Tickets will go on sale in July; $15 for ages 13 and older, $5 for ages 3-12, and children under 3 are free. Monroecountyal. com


Guntersville “Water/ Ways,” a traveling exhibit that explores the role that water plays in human society and culture and the importance of protecting this critical resource.

To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations. Alabama Living

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The exhibit is made possible by a partnership between the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution Museum’s Museum on Main Street program, which gives access to the Smithsonian for small-town America. The next stop is Aug. 20 at Guntersville Museum. Alabamahumanities.org and MuseumOnMainStreet.org


Russellville 40th annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival. Music, contests and entertainment, as well as arts and crafts, 5K run, antique car and truck show, festival foods, tractor show and of course watermelon. Follow the event’s pages on Instagram and Facebook.


Ardmore 29th annual Crape Myrtle Festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., John Barnes Park in Ardmore, Tenn. Arts and crafts and other vendors, crape myrtle sale, food trucks, entertainment and more. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

SUMMER Daviston Horseshoe Bend National Military Park will hold a series of free ranger talks on Wednesdays and Saturdays through Labor Day. Topics will cover the Creek War of 1813-14, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Muscogee (Creek) culture and history and more. All talks will begin at tour stop #2 and will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays. The park is located at 11288 Horseshoe Bend Road, Daviston, AL 36256. Follow the park on Facebook @ HorseshoeBendNMP.

Call or verify events before you make plans to attend. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events may change or be canceled after press time.

Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

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| Alabama People |

Tom Walker

Keeping America’s story alive Tom Walker is the founder and president of the American Village Citizenship Trust. He conceived the idea of the American Village, a 188-acre campus of rolling hills just north of Montevallo, as a place to engage young people in the stories of America’s revolutionary beginning as a foundation for their becoming good citizens and leaders. (Although closed for more than a year during the pandemic, the Village is now open through July 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, and reopens its school season Oct. 1.) In the late 1980s, when studies showed a decline in knowledge of civics and American history, Walker wanted to make a difference. He drew up sketches and concepts for a “unique campus devoted to students having exciting ways to learn more about our nation’s history and the importance of being involved as good citizens.” As he worked to gain support for his vision, speaking publicly to groups and officials, those sketches evolved into what eventually became the American Village, chartered by legislative act in 1995 and opening in November 1999. Today it features more than a dozen historically inspired structures and immerses visitors in the journey to American independence. The American Village is only possible, its Board of Trustees has stated, “because of the extraordinary vision, leadership and perseverance of Tom Walker.” – Lenore Vickrey Why is it important that young people know our country’s history and heritage? It’s been said “history is to a people what memory is to an individual.” Or more succinctly, “History is to all of us what memory is to each one of us.” Our memory helps inform the essence of our personal being: things we value, love, and respect; a record

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of our experiences that have shaped us into who we are. So it is with our country’s history: it informs us of our common and different experiences, and ultimately gives us identity as Americans who share a love of freedom. My dear grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Outwardly she appeared the same, but the substance of her being – her identity – succumbed to the relentless march of the disease. I mourned ahead of time because I knew the day would come when she would not know who I was. That day came and I was devastated. But, selfishly, I had overlooked a worse day was ahead of her: the day she would no longer know who SHE was. So we see what loss of memory does for an individual. How worse for a nation to lose its memory: its very identity when it loses connections to the drama, risk-taking, and saga of our country’s history. What has been your proudest moment in the history of the American Village? Every day that I see students engaged in learning more about their country – when I see them having fun AND getting into the spirit of the programs by participating as historical figures in many scenes from American history – is a proud moment. I am proud because of the tremendously talented corps of “historical interpreters,” or actors and actresses, who lead students in these vignettes which truly engage young people to be “part of moments” taken from history. Our 20th anniversary of our school program observed on Washington’s birthday, 2020 – right before the pandemic shut things down – was a time for all who have had a part in this important work to share in that proud moment. The day celebrated the work of literally thousands of people who have made this work possible – and who made it possible for over 750,000 students from the Southeastern states to participate in our programs. Some of our most moving moments are quiet ones, as we witness veterans or surviving family members saluting the consecrated place at the National Veterans Shrine where sacred ground is enshrined from over 30 international battlegrounds. What’s ahead for the Village? This fall we will open the West Wing of Independence Hall which will feature powerfully engaging interactive exhibits recreating scenes in Boston on the night of Paul Revere’s ride. It will be followed by an equally compelling movie about the outbreak of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775, and the decision by colonists to band together for the cause of independence. Our focus is on securing private funds for finishing the central portion and east wing of Independence Hall. This will have an interactive experience concluding with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, exhibit space, a working Senate chamber for young people, and an interactive classroom focused on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. One of our goals is to invite more and more citizens to become a part of sharing America’s stories with young people. So we invite anyone to connect with us through our website: americanvillage. org.


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| Gardens |

Appreciating nature’s summer concerts


ummertime can ple, usually call at night be quite a noisy using melodious trills season, what with and chirps. They are roaring lawnmowers, joined after dark by the squealing children and nighttime buzzing, ratpop-bang-booming tling and rasping tunes fireworks, but if you’ve of katydids. Grasshopever spent a summer pers sound much like in Alabama, you know katydids, but they sing these sounds pale in during the day, joincomparison to the racking their sounds with et raised by nature’s the shriller, louder and chorus of summer love more sustained voices of songs. cicadas, which typically Those songs may be call during the day and performed by a variety at dusk. Yes, those sounds can of creatures, including be obnoxious and even birds and frogs, but the Cicadas are among several insect species that create the soundtrack of summer. Earlier a bit creepy to some, but loudest performers are this year in parts of the U.S., that soundtrack featured performances by members of the there’s nothing to fear almost always insects Brood X cicada band (pictured here), one of two periodical cicada species that emerge PHOTO BY JOHN ABBOTT as none of these insects that use their unique synchronously every 17 and 13 years. pose a threat to us huand often voluble voices mans, other animals or to our plants and cicada species emerge every year, which to attract mates. In the process, their loud, crops. In fact, they are important to our means we get annual concerts performed sometimes disconcerting performances ecosystems, providing sustenance for birds by the male cicadas trying to impress (atattract our attention, especially this year and other wildlife and helping aerate and tract) females. when the loudest of the crew, the cicadas, fertilize soils. Though cicadas may emerge anytime have received so much press. Abbott suggests checking out the songfrom May through September and even In case you missed the media buzz, sofinsects.com website or other wildlife into October, they are at their most active groups (broods) of periodical cicadas and entomologic organizations to learn during the hottest days of summer (usuemerged this year in parts of the eastern more about these summer musicians. You ally July and August) thus earning them U.S. after 17 years underground to hold can also become a citizen science effort, the nickname of “dog-day” cicadas. And, synchronized and uproarious courtship ideal for adults and children alike, by subof course, they are not alone in their use of concerts. To be clear, the 17-year cicadas mitting observations about the flora and music to attract mates. Katydids, crickets didn’t play a gig here in Alabama, where fauna in your yard and garden to iNaturaland grasshoppers also perform summer we only have 13-year cicada broods that ist (inaturalist.org) and other nature-folove songs for their female audiences. won’t put on their shows until 2024. But cused databases. But lucky us, we get free admission to our annual cicadas — sharing the stage Most important of all is to listen to the their concerts, which feature a variety of with katydids, crickets and grasshoppers insects, birds and frogs performing this musical styles and techniques unique to — are currently holding outdoor perforsummer’s concert season. “It’s part of our each species. According to Abbott, katymances across the state. natural history and a part of nature we dids, crickets and grasshoppers use stridAccording to University of Alabama enshould enjoy,” Abbott says. ulation, the process of rubbing their wings tomologist John Abbott, the 20 or so speand/or legs together to make their music. cies of annual cicadas native to Alabama Cicadas, on the other hand, flex their tymare pretty amazing creatures themselves. JULY TIPS bals, accordion-like membranes located Like their more famous periodical rela• Water container plants and lawns as in their abdomens, to create their signatives, annual cicadas spend most of their needed. ture sounds. lives (2 to 5 years depending on the spe• Plant field peas, spinach, Irish potatoes Together, these various insects join tocies) underground before they emerge for and other warm-season crops. gether for a festival of sound that goes on brief and furious periods of courtship and • Begin planting collards, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other fall day and night through the summer, one mating. But unlike their periodical kin, crops. that may admittedly be a bit much for the annual cicadas don’t synchronize their • Divide overcrowded irises and other unaccustomed ear. But developing an ear appearances during a single year. Instead, perennials. for their music can also provide hours different populations of various “annual” • Keep an eye out for insect and disease of summer entertainment, or at least a problems. chance to develop a deeper appreciation • Remove dead or sickly vegetable plants Katie Jackson is a freelance of new musical genres. from the garden. writer and editor based in Like birds, each of these insect species Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at • Harvest summer vegetables and fruits has a distinctive sound that we can use to katielamarjackson@gmail.com. frequently. identify them by ear. Crickets, for exam-

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Alabama Living

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Finding solutions to reduce the number of unwanted pets I

promise next time, I will go back to a safer topic of diseases in pets. But please be patient, and let’s see if we can do something for many of our unlucky companions. On a cold February morning this year, we were driving north, running late for an appointment. I missed it, but my wife Julie noticed on the southbound side of the highway there were three loose dogs surrounding a bag of dog food. The two young dogs had their nose in the bag and the older dog was not eating but staring at the flowing traffic, wondering what just happened. Someone had just dumped off three dogs with a bag of dog food! Sadly in our area, this happens a lot. People may believe that abandoned dogs and puppies can fend for themselves; the truth is that some die a quick death by car, but most just starve to death, lingering on for months scrounging for food while being cussed and chased or shot at by annoyed folks. Of course, some of these creatures find good homes like all three of our dogs did. We have so many excess dogs here that the rescue organizations are routinely shipping them to the north. That makes me feel a little ashamed. I want my state to be a place where the northerners are sending their excess unwanted dogs because we provide them with such good homes! Why do we abandon cats and dogs? This is a complex question. Maybe because we don’t quite understand what it means to take care of a dog or a cat before getting one. Then with time, the magic and the cuteness wear off and they become a burden due to social or financial reasons. But writing this problem off as a complex social issue does not solve anything. What do we do? One simple answer is to rescue them. Many noble human beings do just that. But I am going to go out on a limb and say that rescuing these poor creatures probably does not make a dent in the end. Over the last 25 years, I have worked with many kind and generous folks who worked as rescuers. They feel satisfied and fulfilled but many feel in the end, they may not have made a difference Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Care near Geraldine, Alabama. To suggest topics for future discussions, email him at drg.vet@gmail.com

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in terms of the big picture. If rescuing these creatures does not address the big picture, then what does? Not have to rescue any to begin with – because there are no dogs or cats to be thrown away. How do we achieve that? I would say education and legislation. Educating people to change their attitudes and values definitely works, but I cannot imagine how many decades it will take to change the mindset of our society. I think legislation is the key, and of course, there has to be public awareness through education, along with continuing rescue efforts. Where do we make legislative changes? Most of us are not savvy in politics, which is often a cage-fight of various conflicting interests. We may think we should prevail because we are asking for the “right thing,” like the well-being of fellow creatures, and through that create a kind and responsible neighborhood. This may trigger a warning bell in some lobbies where people profit from animal use. Others may decry that not allowing a dog to be chained outside all hours of the day may infringe on someone’s personal property and rights. What else can we do?  Join a mainstream organization like the Humane Society of the U.S. After many years of following them, I feel like there are many sane and wise people in this organization. Of course, others will disagree.  Seek and follow Facebook pages of organizations like Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation (AVRAL).  Lower our expectations. Instead of aiming for lofty goals like ending all animal suffering, focus on something more attainable, like local leash or tethering laws or ordinances.  Establish proper licensing requirements. For example, every pet has to be licensed, and loose or roaming pet owners could face consequences.  Fine people for abandoning pets.  Increase our taxes by just a few dollars every year to hire well-educated, caring, and intelligent animal care officers who advocate for the animals (not just “dog-catchers.”) I bet you will not mind paying a few extra dollars if you knew where that money was going. I want to end with a nod to “Hardy” Jackson, Alabama Living’s very own historian and humorist for his May 2021 column on his beloved dog Bo and also for ending the column by saying that Bo would have liked him to rescue another dog. Rest well, Bo! www.alabamaliving.coop

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With thousands of miles of power lines, nearly 200,000 utility employees and 7,300 power plants, America’s electric grid and all its parts must work together to keep power flowing smoothly. PHOTO COURTESY DENNIS GAINER, NRECA


By Paul Wesslund

keys to understanding the new electric grid


merica’s electric grid is often called the most complex maaddition, this complex network is adapting to weather patterns, chine in the world. That’s not a stretch when you think increasing cybersecurity threats, consumer expectations and adabout what it does: it runs your refrigerator and charges ditional decentralized power sources like rooftop solar panels. Those are big changes for such a vast and intricate system, “But your phone, all from a ray of sunshine, a lump of coal, falling wathe silver lining is that techter or a prairie breeze. nology is available to help In between those startaddress that,” says Venkat ing and ending points Banunarayanan, vice presare 160,000 miles of ident of Integrated Grid high-voltage transmission Business & Technology lines, millions of miles of Strategies with the National low-voltage power lines, Rural Electric Cooperative 7,300 power plants, nearAssociation (NRECA). ly 200,000 electric utility For all its complexity, employees, thousands of the electric grid can be electrical substations and described in three matransformers that adjust jor parts: a power source voltage for the cross-coun(like a natural gas plant or try trip along transmission wind turbine); the wires lines, then back down beand equipment that delivfore it enters your house–– The electric grid is constantly adapting to changing weather patterns, increasing er power; and a home or and all these parts must cybersecurity threats, consumer expectations and additional decentralized power business that receives the work together to keep sources like rooftop solar panels. PHOTO COURTESY ALEXIS MATSUI, NRECA power. power flowing safely. In

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Alabama Living

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To understand the grid more deeply, here are four ways it’s adapting to the world’s new realities.

Resilience in the face of more severe weather



Last year was the busiest recorded hurricane season along the Atlantic Coast. Wildfires are increasingly intense, especially in the west, and ice storms and cold weather surprised the South this winter. These changes call for new ways to make sure the lights stay on. Electric utilities are increasing grid resilience by integrating weather forecasting with other smart technologies that monitor electric current and analyze how to respond. NRECA’s Banunarayanan calls this “predictive technology.” By knowing how weather will affect power equipment, he says, “An electric co-op can preposition work crews so they can quickly respond to the outage, and they can redirect the flow of electricity to take an alternate route to minimize the duration of a power outage.”

More power to consumers

Many utilities have voluntary programs that manage electric loads by turning off water heaters or air conditioners for short periods of time. Those programs add another layer of coordination. Additionally, homeowners are installing solar panels on their roofs or in their backyards, with some even selling excess electricity back to the utility—over the electric grid.


Strengthening cyber safety


Cybersecurity measures have become standard operating procedure for utilities to protect against cyber attacks. Electric co-ops and other utilities work closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to monitor and strengthen defenses. “Utilities are constantly improving to make sure they are more cyber-resilient,” says Banunarayanan. Electric co-ops also urge consumer-members at home to protect themselves from hackers. When devices like printers and smart TVs connect to the internet, that actually makes them part of the electric grid.

Utilities keeping up with the change

Large fields of wind turbine farms and solar power arrays require building transmission lines to new locations, and planning for a kind of power that might only operate when the sun shines or the wind blows. These changes are necessary and helpful, but they are also expensive.

Annual spending on the U.S. transmission system has increased from $9 billion a year in 2002, to $40 billion in 2019. But that spending is paying off. In 2017, Americans experienced about eight hours of power interruptions, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2019, that was down to five hours. “Power outages have been going down because there’s investment being made to increase the robustness of the grid,” says Banunarayanan. “I expect the reliability of the grid to increase.”

Last year was the busiest recorded hurricane season along the Atlantic Coast. Wildfires are increasingly intense, especially in the west, and ice storms and cold weather surprised the South this winter. These changing weather patterns call for new ways to make sure the lights stay on.

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Alabama Living

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| Outdoors |

License, seasons allow hunting hogs, coyotes at night


or decades, Alabama sportsmen could shoot feral hogs and coyotes all year long during daylight hours on private lands without limit, but these animals frequently roam at night, particularly in summer heat. Europeans brought pigs to North America centuries ago. Simply domestic pigs turned wild, feral swine eat almost anything and cause millions of dollars in crop damage. They also destroy native wildlife habitat. When searching for food, pigs tear up the ground, making an area look liked someone rototilled it. “Neither swine nor coyotes are native to Alabama,” says Marianne Hudson, the conservation outreach specialist for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “Hogs seriously impact agricultural crops and our native wildlife. They not only destroy habitats that rightfully belong to our native wildlife, but they eat anything.” Few people think of pigs as predators, but hogs consume large quantities of bird eggs, especially ground nesters like quail and turkey. The highly prolific swine also eat any young birds or animals they can catch. If they can catch it or find it, pigs will eat it. Native to western North America, coyotes expanded their range eastward to fill the vacuum created when wolves Coyotes on the prowl at night. and cougars largely disappeared east of the Mississippi River a century ago. In the early 1900s, some people released coyotes in Alabama as game animals. Coyotes naturally arrived in Alabama by the 1960s and now populate every county in the state. Highly skilled predators, coyotes typically eat mice, rats, rabbits and other small animals, but won’t hesitate to devour anything they can find or catch. Coyotes normally hunt from dusk to dawn so people rarely see them during regular daylight shooting hours. “Coyotes catch all sorts of rodents, but they also catch game animals like rabbits and juvenile animals. They also prey on deer. Coyotes eat whitetail fawns, but sometimes even catch and eat adult deer.” To protect their property, livestock and crops, landowners can John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ hotmail.com or through Facebook.

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apply for depredation permits from their district wildlife office, which allows them to kill destructive animals at night. However, a new law permits anyone to hunt hogs or coyotes at night on private lands. The new law does not change the depredation permits. “A new law allows us to issue licenses to anyone to hunt feral swine and coyotes at night,” Hudson says. “Hunters possessing this license can hunt those two species during the specified season. The new license and depredation permit are two different things. Depredation permits will continue to be available to landowners. Those rules aren’t changing.” Many public hunting areas allow people to kill unlimited hogs and coyotes while hunting other legal species, but only during normal daylight shooting hours. The new night hunting license only applies to private lands and costs $15 for residents and $51 for non-residents. Licenses go on sale July 1. For this first year, the night season for hogs and coyotes runs from July 1 until Nov. 1, but dates could change in the future. “This has just been signed into law, but we could reconsider the regulations for this type of hunting in the future,” Hudson says. “Season dates will be set annually. No one is exempt from this license. It applies to youth, private landowners hunting their own PHOTO COURTESY CHIP DILLARD property, those age 65 and over, everyone.” In addition, the new law allows sportsmen to use equipment previously prohibited for hunting, such as night vision devices, thermal optics and lights or lasers attached to firearms. Hunters can only use this type of gear if they possess the night hunting license and use them while hunting coyotes and hogs on private land during the designated open season. “This is definitely an exciting new opportunity for Alabama hunters,” Hudson says. “Another great thing, these licenses will be available online at outdooralabama.com, so someone could purchase a license at the last minute. For instance, a person decides to hunt coyotes or feral hogs one night on his or her property. That person could purchase the license on the way out the door and have it available on the smart phone app to show any conservation enforcement officer.” Hudson cautions hunters to keep safety in mind while hunting at night. Before pulling the trigger, positively identify the target and what’s behind it. In addition, she urges sportsmen to report any illegal activity by calling 1-800-272-GAME. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31


Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31


6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 A.M.

6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 9:54 - 11:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54



7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 PM

7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:18 - 12:18 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18


1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 AM

1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 5:48 - 7:18 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:21 - 5:51 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51


1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 PM

1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:11 - 7:41 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:45 - 6:15 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2021 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com. Alabama Living

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There’s a reason so many of our advertisers are still on our pages, month after month, for more than 40 years. Year after year, Alabama Living remains the best value for your dollar. Contact Jacob at advertising@areapower.com


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| Alabama Recipes |



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ith summer in full swing, there is no better way to rehydrate and rejuvenate than with a fresh snack from the garden. Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, peppers, cabbage, and herbs can all be found in our Alabama vegetable gardens. But for some, the star of the show is the cucumber. Cucumbers are made up of 95% water and are a good source of hydration in the summer heat. According to healthline.com, cucumbers are full of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants and can aid in digestion, cardiovascular health and promote weight loss. Aside from the health benefits, cucumbers are versatile and can be made into pickles and can be used in marinades, dressings and relishes. “The one thing you can’t do with cucumbers is freeze them,” says Angela Treadaway, regional extension agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “They’re mostly water, so freezing them changes the texture.” She says her grandfather had a chow-chow recipe made with cucumbers, tomatoes, red and green peppers that he would make when she was growing up. “It was a really good relish to have in the summer or spring,” says Treadaway. Treadaway grows cucumbers in her garden and one of her favorite ways to prepare cucumbers is to pickle them (see her tips below.) - Tessa Battles

Treadaway’s tips for pickling cucumbers: • •

Make sure you get pickling cucumbers. Not all cucumbers are pickling cucumbers so it is always best to check. Cut the blossom end of the cucumber off about ¼ of an inch from the bottom. This end contains the enzymes that cause the cucumbers to continue to ripen. Use small cucumbers so that large seeds do not cause bitterness.

For more information on pickling, see the Extension System’s website: www.aces.edu.

Refrigerator Pickles or 2 medium cucumbers 1 11/2 cups white vinegar 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt Water Pinch of dill Quart jar Refrigerator Pickles are an easy way to have fresh pickles any time. They are also a great way to use an overabundance of cucumbers you may have. During the summer months we always have lots of cucumbers and this is a perfect way to use Brooke Burks them! We favor the dill variety but these are a great balance of dill and slightly sweet, too. Not only are they tasty, but they also make excellent food gifts. Be sure to check out The Buttered Home's newest recipe and video for Fresh Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Summer Salad at thebutteredhome.com/ fresh-cucumber-tomato-and-onion-summersalad. We'll also be posting this video on the Alabama Living Facebook page.

Alabama Living

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Use a mandolin or knife to slice cucumbers about ¼-inch thick. Fill your quart jar with as many cucumber slices as you can fit. Sprinkle a little dill in about halfway. Leave a small space at the top of the jar, about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, vinegar and salt just until sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool slightly. Pour over jarred cucumbers and fill the Photo by The Buttered Home rest of the way with water. You shouldn’t need much water. Remember to leave a little space at the top of the jar. Screw on lid just until tight, not overly so. Allow to cool on the counter for about 1 to 2 hours. Place in refrigerator and allow to steep overnight. They should last about two weeks in the refrigerator.

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Cook of the Month: Mary McGriff, Cullman EC

Cucumber Relish

Mary McGriff is a collector of recipes. When she comes across a recipe she likes, she writes it down and adds it to her collection. Several years ago, her husband pastored a church where she encountered her winning recipe for Cucumber Relish for the first time. A lady at her church prepared the dish and Mary asked for the recipe. “I make it every year,” she says. “And it’s always good.” And, good news to some, a home garden is not required. Mary says she does not grow her own cucumbers, but they are given to her or she buys them from the market. She also says the onion and pepper needed for the recipe can be put through a shredder to save time. – Tessa Battles



8 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1

cups cucumbers, peeled and diced cup celery, diced cup onion, diced cup green pepper, diced tablespoon salt cups sugar cup vinegar tablespoon celery seed tablespoon mustard seed

Photo by Brooke Echols Mix first 4 ingredients together. Heat remaining ingredients to a boil and pour over first 4 ingredients. Let stand 30 minutes. Reheat to near boiling. Pour into hot jars and seal. Cucumbers, celery, onion and green pepper can be put through a shredder. It is much quicker and tastes the same.

to the winning

Cook of the Month!

Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Themes and Deadlines: October: Potatoes | July 2 November: Cauliflower | August 6 December : Holiday Cookie Contest | September 3

3 ways to submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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Holiday Cookie CONTEST

Calling all bakers! Do you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe or special cookies you take to all the holiday parties and cookie exchanges? Share your favorite holiday cookie recipes with us for a chance to win! Enter online at www.alabamaliving.com. Each entry must include your name, address and phone number as well as the name of your electric cooperative. Entries may also be mailed to Alabama Living Cookie Contest, PO Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Entry deadline is September 3, 2021.


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Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce 2 cups or 1 large or 2 medium cucumbers, (no need to seed or peel) grated 11/2 cups unsweetened low-fat Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon sea salt Cucumber Dip | Photo by Brooke Echols

Cucumber Dip 2-3 cucumbers 1 8-ounce package cream cheese Dash of garlic powder Mayonnaise Blend cucumbers, cream cheese and garlic powder in a food processor until smooth. Mayonnaise is added to thin the dip. Start with a heaping spoonful and mix. If you want a thinner consistency, add mayonnaise until you reach desired consistency. Great as a spread for sandwiches instead of mayonnaise and makes a good dip for vegetables. Beth Casey Sand Mountain EC

Marinated Cucumber Tomato Salad 2 4 ½ ½

cucumbers, peeled and cubed tomatoes, stem removed and cubed Vidalia onion, cut in big pieces red, green, or yellow pepper, cut in big pieces

Marinade: 4 tablespoons avocado oil 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 1 packet natural Stevia (about ½ teaspoon) ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Cucumber Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese 1 cup sugar 1 cup apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 large cucumber, sliced thin 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar 6 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 1/4 cup black olives, sliced 1/8 cup fresh dill, chopped Combine sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, mustard seeds and salt in a medium boiler over medium to high heat. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Cool completely. Place sliced cucumber in a large bowl, pour cooled vinegar/ sugar mixture over cucumbers. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours. Strain liquid and seeds off cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil with white wine or champagne vinegar. Set aside. To serve, Place 1/6th of cucumbers on a salad plate. Place one cup of watermelon cubes on the same plate. Top each plate evenly with feta cheese, mint, olives and fresh dill. Drizzle evenly with vinaigrette.

Place grated cucumber in a tea towel and lightly squeeze to remove excess water. Place squeezed cucumber into a large bowl. Add yogurt, olive oil, dill, mint, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Mix well. Allow to sit uncovered at room temperature for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust herbs and salt according to preference. Serve immediately or cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Enjoy this sauce on just about anything! -The Buttered Home

Cucumber Caprese Salad 3 8 3 1 1/4 1/4 5

medium tomatoes, sliced ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced medium cucumbers, sliced Drizzle of olive oil tablespoon balsamic vinegar teaspoon sea salt teaspoon black pepper large basil leaves, cut into ribbons

Overlap tomato slices on a platter. Alternate cucumber slices and mozzarella slices on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle Basil ribbons on top. -The Buttered Home

Answers to puzzle on Page 28

-The Buttered Home

Mix marinade in a small bowl. Pour over vegetables and stir well. Cover and keep at room temperature for 45 minutes. Stir and re-cover. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. Stir again and serve. Julie Williquette Joe Wheeler EMC Alabama Living

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| Consumer Wise |

Should outbuildings be insulated? By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen

Left, keeping a newer shed in top condition may require insulation and proper venting. PHOTO COURTESY DAVE F3138, FLICKR USER

Above, unwanted moist air in a shed or workshop can cause tools and other metals to rust. PHOTO COURTESY FLORIS VAN HALM, FLICKR USER


We just purchased a home and noticed the previous owner installed an electric wall heater in the outdoor shed. How much will our electric bill go up if we use this heater next winter? Should we consider insulating the shed at some point?


Good questions! An uninsulated outbuilding can be quite expensive to heat (or cool) depending on where you live. Even though we’re currently experiencing July’s warmer temperatures, I’ll focus on heating since your shed includes the wall heater. Years ago, I worked on a home energy contest that selected homes with the highest energy bills and helped the owners make efficiency improvements. One year, the home with the highest energy use had an uninsulated shed that was heated in order to keep several cans of leftover paint from freezing. The cost of heating the shed each winter was more than it would have cost to replace the paint. The cost to heat or cool your outdoor shed depends on your climate, the size of the outbuilding and the price you pay for electricity. I conducted a quick calculation that showed heating an uninsulated 6 ft. by 8 ft. shed could cost twice as much as heating an insulated 900 sq. ft. home. Wow! Some outbuildings are heated with wood, which is a sound choice if you have a free source of firewood. Another strategy often seen in workshops is a radiant heater directed at the work Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@collaborativeefficiency.com for more information.

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area, perhaps in front of a workbench. But if you’re paying for your fuel and decide to keep an outbuilding heated, you should definitely insulate it. An important consideration, unless you live in a desert-dry climate, is the effect moisture can have in an outbuilding. Moisture enables rot, insects and mold to wreak havoc on your structure, and rust to degrade tools and other metals. Heating and insulating an outbuilding, if done right, can reduce or eliminate a moisture problem. But insulation installed incorrectly can trap moisture and foster mold growth. Moisture in an outbuilding is usually caused by three things: leaks where water can get through (typically through the roof, windows and doorway); seepage through floors and walls; or condensation when nighttime temperatures drop. To prevent moisture buildup, you need to eliminate moisture sources and prevent condensation. As air cools, it cannot carry as much moisture, and condensation occurs, usually on the coolest object at hand. Insulating walls and ceilings can keep the interior wall or ceiling surface from getting cold enough for condensation to occur. Insulated wall or ceiling cavities need to be carefully air sealed so that condensation does not occur inside the cavity. I should also note that the cost of heating and cooling an outbuilding can be much lower if the thermostat is carefully controlled. Only you can decide if the value of heating and cooling your outbuilding is worth the cost and effort to properly insulate and seal. Even if your shed is not heated or insulated, it’s worth keeping an eye out for mold and mildew. We hope you enjoy your new home and your outdoor shed! www.alabamaliving.coop

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WE SELL: Steel Trusses • Hay Barns Lumber • Equipment Sheds Building Material Packages Painted Metal • Work Shops Insulation • Kneebraces Galvalume Metal


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Alabama Living

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Payne Land Preparation, LLC

is a family owned and operated company. We use a John Deere 333D track loader with a 5’ wide rotating drum mulching head that has carbide teeth for mulching brush, vegetation and up to 6” diameter trees. Located in Jackson County and servicing all of North Alabama Our Services include but are not limited to: • Clearing over grown fence rows • Trails • Pastures • Shooting lanes • Property lines • Hunting areas • Fire breaks • Access roads • Right of ways • Tree tops left over from property that has been previously logged • Real estate tracks and future home sites. Why choose Payne Land Preparation, LLC? • We treat your land as we do our own!

Check us out on Facebook Email: paynelandprep@gmail.com Phone: 423-488-6866


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Using a rotating drum mulcher benefits your land by: • Clearing down to surface of soil • Leaving roots intact to hold land and soil structure minimizing ground disturbance and erosion • Left over mulch helps prevent regrowth and returns nutrients back to soil • No brush piles, no burning or haul away • Improve the value and looks of your property We also offer stump grinding and backhoe services.

Contact us at 423-488-6866 or email us at paynelandprep@gmail.com www.alabamaliving.coop

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638-6608 TV


*Call for Details AL Certification #89464

WHY JOHNSON? Because Your Family’s Home Comfort Really Matters


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Alabama Living

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| Our Sources Say |

Stay cool without breaking the bank I

t’s hot outside, and our air conditioners are working on overdrive to keep us comfortable. Here in the south, summer is when we see energy use rise, and the season when electric bills for customers creep upwards. A benefit of our Valley Public Power model is that TVA and local power companies share a mission to serve our customers with low-cost, clean and reliable power – in every type of weather condition. The TVA EnergyRight team partners with local power companies to deliver on this mission with wide-ranging resources to help people keep their energy costs down. One of the most popular services provided by EnergyRight is the Home Energy Evaluation, where a Home Energy Advisor can visit a home in-person or virtually and provide tailored advice on opportunities to improve energy efficiency. If a homeowner opts for a virtual evaluation, they receive simple login instructions before their appointment, accessed quickly from their smart phone. The advisor guides them room to room, talking through the places around their home that affect their energy usage. After the evaluation, they get a report with recommendations for how to start saving energy and money. Visit Virtual Evaluations - EnergyRight for more information. While most people know the basics of how to save electricity, such as turning off lights when not in use and keeping blinds and curtains closed to the sun, here are some recommendations that

Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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are not so “top of mind,” but can make a difference in summer power bills. Not everyone is comfortable at the 78⁰F temperature the U.S. Department of Energy recommends for thermostats in the summer. The good news is that one study found that each degree a thermostat is set above 75⁰F during the summer could reduce energy usage by 10 to 15 percent. Even if the air conditioner is set to 76⁰F, you can still save money. Water heating accounts for about 17 percent of energy consumed in homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120⁰F. After all, most people don’t want to take long, hot showers in summertime. The way you use other appliances also impacts your electricity usage. Run your dishwasher only when full. Pull your refrigerator six inches away from the wall to help the air properly circulate. Set your refrigerator between 35⁰F and 38⁰F, and your freezer between 0⁰F and 5⁰F. Planting shrubs and trees on the south and west sides of your house, or at least over your outdoor A/C unit, can make your cooling system up to 10 percent more efficient. Put a note on your calendar to replace your HVAC air filter every month, and use ceiling fans or floor fans to boost the cooling power of your A/C. If you have children who are between activities and want something fun to do, register them for a virtual Eye Spy Energy Workshop. An expert facilitator will lead them on a live energy-saving adventure from the comfort of home. Share these ideas with your family, friends and neighbors and encourage them to visit EnergyRight.com for details on all the ways they can save money and energy. www.alabamaliving.coop

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| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): September 2021 Issue by July 25 October 2021 Issue by August 25 November 2021 Issue by September 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower.com; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

OPP, ALABAMA – We are a small friendly, family-owned trucking company in need of good, qualified truck drivers. Must be at least (24) years of age. Current DOT Medical Exam (long form). $1,000.00 Sign On Bonus. Pay for clean DOT roadside inspections. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Insurance medical and dental, 401k, paid vacation, paid life insurance. For more information call (334)493-6843.

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E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Letters to the editor

Of dogs and heaven

I recently read your article (“In memory of dogs,” May 2021). I have a few thoughts regarding if dogs go to heaven. I was married to a minister for many years. I read his scholarly commentaries on the Old and New Testament. Though he was open minded, I also had to deal with clergy who thought they could speak for the almighty on all issues. I have told many a person in grief from the loss of their family dog or other pet that Jesus in the scripture already promised that they will hold these beloved gifts from God when they, too, enter heaven. What? At every funeral, scripture is read: “I go to prepare a place for you.” So, I ask these persons, is it a real room with your pet in it or not in it. They always answer “in it!” Well, there you go; the Great I AM has heard you. It is also written Jesus said “I go to make all things new.” The creator made us all and it is in the mind and arms of the creator that we are all held and made new when we leave this earth. I believe all species are represented in heaven because that God created them. They are not extinct. Common sense also tells us our pets go to heaven. Heaven is a place of love. When my beloved Pembroke Corgi/Siberian Husky Alabama Living

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(Rascal) had to be treated for cancer, I found a great vet in Foley, Alabama, Dr. Dykes. In the entrance garden right in front of a statue of St. Francis of Assisi is a sign: “Dogs, the only beings on earth that love us more than they love themselves.” God knew we humans need to be reminded that we are loved unconditionally when our faith falters. So God sends us pets to give us unconditional love that we can touch and hold. Why would God waste one ounce of love that could be part of heaven? Dr. Dykes knew and I knew where Rascal “was” the second Dr. Dykes ended Rascal’s suffering. Forty-five pounds of pure love was added to heaven. You will have Bo and all your furry family members in your room when you leave this earth. God has promised you. So don’t listen to mere small-minded ministers and others. Did they create heaven and earth, did they make the mountains and the seas? Marilyn Parker , Orange Beach

How not to spend tax dollars

This bill (SB 215, the broadband expansion bill) and funding for same will supposedly give “all” Alabamians the ability to use the broadband internet services (“Broadband bill passes Alabama House and Senate,” June 2021). But if the cost to use the internet (the ISP fees) is not reduced substantially, this bill will simply be another example of how not to spend taxpayer dollars. Shelton York, Guntersville JULY 2021  53

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| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Illustration by Dennis Auth

A cat named Rover


y column about the dogs I have known and loved might have left the impression that I am not a big fan of cats. Well, let me tell you about Rover. He got his name because he roved up one day. Black and white and skin and bones. Arriving without fanfare and without pedigree, lost or strayed or just passing through and taking a break. Had there been an alley in the neighborhood, he would have been an alley cat. Had it not been for my sympathy for the dejected and downtrodden, I would have sent him on his way. Instead, I fed him. He stayed. Now, at the time, there was another cat in my life. Growltiger, who belonged to my daughter, was ill-tempered, ill-mannered, vain and conceited. Though I fed her every morning, Growltiger treated me with a mixture of distain and disgust. She ate as if I wasn’t there, as if somehow she and she alone had willed the food to miraculously appear simply and exclusively because she was not just “a” cat, but “the” cat. Which is why Growltiger did not like Rover. Which is why I did. Unlike Growltiger, Rover appreciated the food I gave him. And he appreciated the little cathouse I fixed for him out back when

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com

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winter approached. He appreciated it when I dressed his wounds, for Rover was a fighter but not a very good one. He was a better lover, to which the number of black and white kittens in the neighborhood attested, and I am certain that many of the cuts he brought home for me to tend were as much the product of passion as pugnacity. And Rover, as you might have gathered by now, was male. Everyone else in and around my house wasn’t. Rover and I bonded. Rover liked the warm and was a master at finding a sunny spot and going to sleep. As the years rolled by, sleeping in the sun became his favorite pastime. Eventually Growltiger went to Kitty Heaven. Well, maybe not Heaven. But Rover hung in there. His age as undeterminable as his gene pool, he lived on and well. His favorite sleeping spot was in the middle of a sun-warmed street, and since the road we lived on was short and dead ended, he was safe from speeding cars. So, every day that the sun shone, and some days when it didn’t but the asphalt was still warm, you could find him there. One bright day he slowly made his way out to his favorite spot, pausing from time to time to shake off the ache in his ancient joints. Then he lay down and closed his eyes and sometime between then and sunset he died. I buried him in the garden, right next to the compost pile, the decaying heat from which, I figured, would warm him on his way. No marker. But if there had been one it would have read “Rover. Good cat. He weren’t no trouble.” Not a bad way to go. Nor a bad way to be remembered. www.alabamaliving.coop

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